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Words of Wisdom

Selections from The Sword of Wisdom for Thoroughly Ascertaining Reality by Mipham Rinpoche (vegetarian) - Verses 1 to 68, Part 1 of 2



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Mipham Rinpoche was a prolific writer, composing more than thirty-five books on topics ranging from medicine, poetry (in particular the Gesar epics), logic, cosmology, astrology and divination, alchemy, painting and sculpture, and engineering. The Sword of Wisdom for Thoroughly Ascertaining Reality is one of his most important works and was written within a day, in 1885. It comprises of 104 verses, encompassing the two truths, the four principles of reasoning, valid cognition, the four reliances and the eight treasures of confidence. Though it is brief, its content is extraordinary.

“The Dharma taught by the Buddha Depends entirely upon the two levels of truth, The relative truth of the mundane And the truth of the ultimate meaning. If one is to apply an unerring and certain mind To the nature of these two truths, One must cultivate the excellent vision Of the two flawless valid cognitions.”

“Direct perception itself is of four kinds: Unmistaken sensory, mental, self-awareness And yogic; all of which are non-conceptual, Since their objects appear with specific characteristics. Without these direct perceptions There would be no evidence and hence no inference, And any perception of things arising from causes And then ceasing, would become impossible. If that were the case, how could we ever Understand them to be empty and so on? Without relying upon the conventional, There can be no realization of the ultimate. Cognitions brought about by the five senses Clearly experience their own objects. Without this direct sensory perception, Like blind folk, we would fail to see. Mental direct perception arises from the faculty of mind, And clearly determines both outer and inner objects. Without it, there would be no aspect of consciousness Capable of perceiving all types of phenomena. Yogic direct perception is the culmination of meditation Practiced properly and according to the instructions. It clearly experiences its own objects, and without it There would be no vision of objects beyond the ordinary. Just as this direct experience can eliminate Misperceptions about outer forms and the like, This is also how it is within the mind itself, If there were some other knower, there would be no end to them. A mind that is cognizant and aware Naturally knows its objects, but at the same time Is also aware of itself, without relying upon something else, And this is what is termed ‘self-awareness.’”

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